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For the past 21 years, Magnet has been a source of incisive and interesting reporting on the national indie rock scene. This Thursday, the locally-produced magazine celebrates its 21st birthday with an epic show at The Trocadero, featuring a similarly long-running band, Guided by Voices. Since forming in 1986, the legendary Ohio band—helmed by the wily and creative Robert Pollard—has released no less than 500 songs, spanning 22 records, and three decades. In honor of Magnet’s 21 years, we present our top 21 GBV tunes—one for each decade of great music writing. Stream the entire playlist here—and read on for a description of what we chose.
1. “Sometimes I Cry” (from Forever Since Breakfast, 1986). “Sometimes I Cry” is one of the very first GBV songs ever released, and surprisingly one of their most honest. “Sometimes I cry because you don’t love me no more,” croons a young Pollard, sounding a little like Elvis Costello. It’s our first taste of the quirky auteur that would later emerge, and it sounds great.
(Note: “Sometimes I Cry” is not available on Spotify. It’s just that obscure. So here it is on YouTube instead. Enjoy!)
2. “Over the Neptune / Mesh Gear Fox” (from Propeller, 1992). GBV are not known for writing long songs, but “Over the Neptune / Mesh Gear Fox” clocks in at almost 6 minutes, making it one of their longest to date. It’s also totally epic, transitioning from easy-going lo-fi jangle to thick, indulgent jamming. If you ever wondered what Pollard would sound like fronting REM, this gives you a good idea. To quote the song: “It’s rock’n roll time!”
3. “Hot Freaks” (from Bee Thousand, 1994). I recently read a blog post (appropriately, in Magnet Magazine) about how “Hot Freaks” is the most overrated song in the GBV discography. I disagree. This short, 112-second nug is not only snarky and hilarious, it’s the only GBV song to contain a Pilam shout-out (ok, so maybe not really…but it totally sounds like Pollard is saying “Pilam,” instead of “Pie Land.”)
4. “The Queen of Cans and Jars” (from Bee Thousand, 1994). One thing I love about GBV is that their songs always evoke such brilliant imagery. “The Queen of Cans and Jars” is one of my faves, because the imagery is so strong—I imagine a small child, sitting atop a mountain of canned goods, a paper crown placed precariously on her head and a huge smile across her face. Also: that see-saw guitar line? So good. Continue reading →
The latest single from Irish troubadour Hozier is both a somber introspection and a strident anthem. The singer, who just performed at XPN’s NonCOMM and announced a debut headlining show at The Trocadero this fall, evokes the brooding piano pulse of James Blake’s cover of “Limit to Your Love” on the quiet verse, but swells to something rousing, anthemic and positively pop-oriented on the very U2-esque refrain. The song premiered on the BBC last night; take a listen below, and catch Hozier at The Troc on November 1st. Tickets and info can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Punk rockers Against Me! will take to the Trocadero stage tonight in support of their latest album Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Frontwoman Laura Jane Grace will soon star in her own reality series for AOL which follows the singer’s journey through personal and professional struggles that have influenced the new record. Watch them perform “Fuckmylife666″ on Letterman below and get tickets here.
Long-running New York pop-punk crew Bayside hit The Troc earlier this month for a sold-out show with Doylestown four-piece Daylight (which has since changed its name to Superheaven) and Mixtapes. Bayside is on tour in support of Cult, it’s first release for Hopeless Records and its sixth album overall. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.
80s icon Gary Numan headlines The Troacadero tonight in support of his latest album, Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind), released back in October. A driving mix of heavy industrial textures and dark melodies, it shows the singer in top form, and his setlists from earlier tour dates sees him balancing the new tracks with classics from his back catalog – like “Metal” and “Are ‘Friends’ Electric.” Download the single “I Am Dust” below and get tickets and information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Indie music magazine Magnet turns 21 this year and it is gearing up to celebrate in a big way. The locally founded and run publication has invited indie rock veterans Guided By Voices to headline a birthday show at The Trocadero on May 22nd, supported by alt rockers Surfer Blood and Jersey punk rockers Titus Andronicus. Tickets for the 21+ event will be available here. Check out videos from the performers below.
Philly’s Chill Moody is asserting dominance via hashtag rap on his new Mike Zombie-assisted track “Godzilla”. Both rappers spit lethal rhymes over the beat which includes a loop of what sounds like a shrieking Godzilla. Before getting sentimental at Hard Rock Cafe for his annual Valentines Day show (inspired by his mixtape Who Do You Love) on February 7th (tickets here), Chill Moody will blaze the Trocadero stage on January 30th. Get tickets here (for 96 cents!).
Tonight, Union Transfer hosts a star-studded fundraiser concert for The Rail Park – a proposed public green space built along the rail tracks of the abandoned reading viaduct. The concert, which looks to raise money for the first phase of the project, will feature performances by Birdie Busch, Sharon Van Etten, Spank Rock and more. It also includes what is rumored to be The Walkmen‘s final performance…at least for a long time. All of the event’s proceeds will benefit Friends of the Rail Park; get tickets here.
Broken Bells, the collaborative project between James Mercer (The Shins) and producer extraordinnaire Dangermouse, are back with a new record and tour. After the Disco will be released in January, with the tour bringing Broken Bells to The Trocadero on March 8th. After the Disco follows the duo’s 2010 debut self-titled LP. Tickets for the Philadelphia date go on sale Friday, November 22nd at 10 a.m. and will be available here. Listen to the first single from the record below – “Holding on For Life” is a slick track that bounces between spacey electronica and Bee Gees-esque pop.